The scourge of mold spreading outside of homes abandoned by Superstorm Sandy victims has local residents expressing fear and demanding action. WPIX is reporting that while the city is professing that mold isolated to abandoned homes is relatively safe, neighbors of said homes are getting sick and don’t want to take any chances.
As homes rendered unlivable by the destruction brought upon by Sandy rot with festering mold, residents neighboring these homes believe that they are getting sick as a result. New Dorp Beach resident Dee McGrath, who came down with pneumonia for the first time ever, is a resident who has raised alarms.
“Everyone is getting sick. There are many cases of pneumonia, many cases of infection. People are saying it’s allergies. But it is the same symptoms of toxic mold syndrome,” McGrath told WPIX.
McGrath’s neighbor Nicole Romano-Lev also has blamed mold for increasing health problems in her own family claiming that her oldest son developed allergies for the first time after Sandy.
“He ended up with hives and welts over his body, for a good six weeks after the torment because high concentration of mold. We had him skin tested and he had severe allergy to mold,” said Romano-Lev.
In response to the concerns of residents living near abandoned homes covered in mold, the New York City Health Department issued the following statement:
“Mold in an abandoned home does not generally pose a health risk to neighbors,” the agency said.
Residents dealing with nearby mold problems aren’t buying it and non-profit “Where To Turn” leader Dennis McKeon cited the government’s spotty history when it comes to health warnings, citing the events of 9/11.
“The Health Department says there’s no problem because they want the people back in their houses. They want everybody to think everything is fine. Same thing happened after 9/11. [The city] came out seven days after the towers fell and told everybody that ‘everything was fine, there was no danger with people going down there to work.’ Hundreds of people have died since 9/11 because of cancers they got because air quality was so bad,” McKeon said.
Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn, sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, urging him and the city to get active in fighting the mold problem.
“We have reached a point where the health and recovery of our constituents in these neighborhoods are being seriously jeopardized by these still-neglected structures … it is my understanding, that the City may be able to take stronger action if the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene classified these abandoned, mold-infested homes to be a threat to public health,” Grimm’s letter reads.
We were wondering how Sheepshead Bites readers were dealing with mold issues. Do you live next to an abandoned structure that is crawling with mold? Have you suffered symptoms of toxic mold syndrome? More generally, is your own home suffering from mold since Sandy? Let us know.